The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has responded to criticism of the Department's performance in issuing payments to farmers under the GLAS scheme.
The 2016 GLAS payments underway since December 2016 represent the first full year payment schedule under the GLAS scheme. To date 27,400 of the 37,500 participants in the scheme have received 85% of their payment totalling almost €100 million.
In a statement the Minister said he is keen to provide clarity to the almost 10,000 farmers still awaiting payment at this stage.
Furthermore, he said in order to ensure outstanding payments are issued without delay, all resources from an I.T. and administrative perspective are being directed towards resolving the outstanding issues.
The Minister says he understands and regrets the difficulty this uncertainty will cause for farmers involved and is being updated on a continuous basis by his officials on progress.
A further payment run is due this week and it is expected that over 1,000 payments will issue. Further payment runs will be made on a weekly basis as cases are cleared.
The Minister is satisfied that every effort possible is being made to complete this process as quickly as possible.”
The Deparment of Agriculture, has stressed that all GLAS applications must pass regulatory controls and validations as is this the case with all EU co-funded schemes.
It says the outstanding cases relate to applications that did not pass these checks and in the majority of cases is due to a query on a selected GLAS action or a land parcel on their holding.
All of these cases must be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine if the actions involved should be removed from the scheme or allowed to proceed to payment.
Examples of issues leading to delayed payments are as follows:
Department says it is not possible to provide a definitive timeframe for the completion of payments due to the individual nature of the outstanding issues, however every effort is being made to process all payments as quickly as possible.